Can you charge a laptop with a power bank?

Overall it is very much possible to charge any laptop using a power bank.

However, you’ll need to make sure that the power bank is compatible with your laptop first.

If you want to understand how to properly choose a power bank for your laptop, there are 3 main things you should consider: the power output, the battery capacity, and the input/output ports. Let’s take them one by one.

Required power output for charging a laptop

If you want to power up your laptop while using it, you’ll need a minimum power output from the charger. This value varies according to each laptop model. For example, a 15-inch MacBook Pro needs 87W, a 13-inch needs 61W, and a 12-inch model needs 29W. For the best results, consult the user manual of your laptop in order to find out the optimal wattage required to power it.

You should also know, that it’s possible to power your laptop with lower power outputs too. But in this case, the laptop might consume more power than the portable charge is able to supply, thus continuing to draw power from the battery even if it’s connected to the charger. Or in more extreme cases, you won’t be able to power your laptop unless it’s turned off. Either way, the lower the wattage of the power bank, the longer it will take for your laptop to charge. Using a regular 5V/2A USB output port and charging your laptop while it’s not running, might take as much as 12h hours.

On average, you should be fine if you get a power bank capable of at least 80W of power output. 

Port compatibility

Many new laptop models can be charged via a USB-C. Similarly, almost all new power bank models come with USB type C output ports. This makes both devices compatible for high-power transfer.

But if you happen to have an older laptop model, the charging port might be pretty unique to that model or brand. For example, Apple, Lenovo, Dell, Samsung, Acer or Toshiba laptops could each have their own type of charging port.

One of the most popular alternatives for charging a laptop using a power bank is to apply an adaptor to the power ban charging cable. Some power bank manufacturers even include a series of adaptors with their devices.

The other alternative would be to get a power bank with an AC outlet and simply plug your laptop directly in the power bank. For this option, you might want to look at  3-in-1 hybird portal charger.  However, since the power supplied via the AC port is at a higher voltage, you can expect your laptop’s battery to be charged proportionally less.

Power Bank capacity

Before deciding on a power bank for charging your laptop, think how many times would you like it to fully charge your laptop’s battery. A good goal would be for 1-2 charges. More than that and the power bank will need to be quite bulky. But again, it depends on your actual needs.

The first thing would be to find out the capacity of your laptop’s battery, ideally in mAh. But Wh is also good as a unit of measure (btw. you can easily convert Wh to mAh). For example, the battery of a 2019 13-inch MacBook Pro has a total rated capacity of 4475mAh.

So if you’re looking to get two chargers out of the power bank, you should aim to get one that’s at least 15000mAh. As discussed in a previous article, the real capacity of a power bank is smaller than advertised.

Other things to take into consideration

Besides capacity, power, and adaptors, you should also be mindful of the following aspects when choosing the right power bank to charge your laptop:

  • The more intensively you use your laptop, the more powerful should the power bank be in order to supply an adequate amount of power. So if you’re a heavy user of resource-demanding software such as video editing programs, aim to get a power bank with generous power output.
  • Keep in mind that if you plan to fly with your power bank, it’s capacity must not exceed 100Wh or about 26000mAh, as per the TSA and FAA regulations.
  • Charging cables can affect the charging process. Even if both your portable charger and your laptop are fully compatible with each other, using a low-quality charging cable can result in much longer charging times. Ideally use a cable that comes with either your power bank or with your laptop.

If you have any other questions on how to charge a laptop with a power bank do let us know in the comments or get in touch with us via the contact us page!

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